GIZ China Sustainable Transport Programme

GIZ China Sustainable Transport Programme

Established in 2010, the Sustainable Transport team of GIZ in China cooperates with Chinese institutions on behalf of the German government to support their quest for the sustainable, low carbon development of the trans- port sector. In China, transport accounts for a significant share of total carbon emissions, contesting its sustainable development. Recognising the challenge of rapid urbanisation and motorisation, China is committed to limit the growth of its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Implementing low carbon transport policies, China aims to achieve additional sustainability benefits, such as better air quality, reduced congestion and improved road safety. GIZ follows the Avoid-Shift-Improve (A-S-I) approach to promote alternative mobility solutions and develop sustainable transport systems: Avoid or reduce the need to travel, shift to or maintain the share of environmentally friendly modes and improve the energy efficiency of vehicles or lower the carbon content in fuels. In China, we mainly work in four areas:

  1. Climate change mitigation strategies
  2. Electro-mobility and alternative fuels
  3. Green logistics
  4. Urban transport

Within these areas, we cooperate with our Chinese partners on the design and implementation of measures, strategies and universal standards for energy efficiency, On behalf of environmental protection, and climate change mitigation in China’s transport sector. An important cross-cutting theme in our work is the quantification of greenhouse gas emissions and the assessment of emission reduction potentials of policies and measures.

The basis of our cooperation is to assess problems and develop solutions jointly with our Chinese counterparts and with the help of international experts. GIZ thus facilitates a continuous expert exchange between Chinese, German and international experts to discuss scenarios for China’s future development. The sustainable transport programme engages in policy dialogues with decision makers of the Chinese and German government as well as local transport authorities. In partnership with our Chinese counterparts we develop policy recommendations based on scientific research, best practice reviews and expert discussions. We host workshops and arrange study tours to identify feasible solutions and encourage mutual learning.

Climate Change

Climate change is a global challenge. It requires determined action from stakeholders in all parts of the world, but in particular from those responsible for the largest past and present greenhouse gas emissions. The transport sector contributes more than a quarter of global energy-related CO2 emissions. While many other sectors have begun to level out or reduce their emissions, global transport emissions continue to grow at a rapid pace and an absolute peak is not yet in sight. Especially in China unprecedented economic growth and urbanisation have led to mind-boggling growth rates of individual motorised transport, as well as freight transport. Over the last five years, the growth rate of private vehicle ownership averaged 28% per year. As key actors in the global economy and community of nations, China and Germany cooperate to develop a sustainable low carbon transport sector. GIZ supports Chinese national and local authorities and policy institutes in developing mitigation strategies and policies based on emission quantification and policy analysis.


China’s continuously growing traffic volume, especially in individual transport, not only causes environmental concerns, it also puts pressure on China to address its strong dependence on oil imports. The Chinese government promotes the development of electro-mobility and alternative fuels as a means to decrease this dependency and increase energy efficiency in the transport sector. With zero tailpipe emissions electric vehicles also have strong potential to improve urban air quality. To be sustainable electro-mobility needs to be both environmentally friendly and safe. This is not only about electric vehicles (EVs). It also means fostering renewable energies in the national grid and designing integrated strategies for charging and maintaining electric vehicles. Innovative recycling plans and new mobility concepts can enhance the environmental impact of electric vehicles over their life cycle.

Green Logistics

China’s rapidly growing economy has led to an extensive expansion of freight transport in the last decades. At the same time, freight transport has become a large emitter of both CO2 and local pollutants. To reduce these emissions but at the same time ensure an optimal supply with goods and services to sustain economic growth is a major challenge for China. Yet, mitigation of the environmental impact in the freight and logistics sector is essential for a sustainable future.

There is great potential for enhancing logistics management, upgrading vehicle fleets and integrating information technology with logistics. Recognising this potential, the Ministry of Transport actively promotes efficiency improvements in the freight and logistics sector. GIZ introduces new concepts and standards to decision makers through trainings and other capacity development measures. Understanding policy requirements and innovation potentials of green logistics, organisations can review existing procedures and improve them regarding their climate impact and efficiency.

Urban Transport

China’s economic growth and urbanisation over the past three decades have lifted millions out of poverty and improved the choices and wellbeing of many. At the same time, these processes have led to a massive increase in transport volume, making air pollution, congestion, traffic accidents and noise nuisance sad characteristics of Chinese metropolises that affect the newly gained quality of life. In addition, much of the growth in transport GHG emissions is generated in cities and urban growth is bound to continue for the next decades to come. Reducing GHG emissions from urban transport is therefore a necessity for sustainable development not only in Chinese cities but in the whole country and the world. Neither the provision of additional road infrastructure nor the development of new car technologies is sufficient to overcome local and global challenges. Technical solutions need to be complemented by implementing Transport Demand Management (TDM) – a strategy that includes a comprehensive set of measures to promote walking, cycling and public transport, while discouraging the use of private cars.